By Lawdragon News | October 15, 2014 | News Articles
A massive class action has been filed in California pitting the state’s leading elder abuse lawyer against its largest operator of nursing homes, claiming fraud in the systematic abuse and understaffing of elderly residents entrusted to the care of Brius Healthcare Services and its owner, Shlomo Rechnitz.
Stephen Garcia of Garcia, Altigliere & Medby has been lead counsel in more than 1,000 elder or dependent adult abuse cases, winning more than $900 million for them and other consumers.
He took his time researching the 90 pages of allegations against Rechnitz and Brius, however, in part because of Rechnitz’s much-lauded reputation for philanthropy.
According to Garcia, that philanthropy stops well before the doors to the string of shoddy nursing homes he operates. The entire list is contained in a report by Courthouse News, as well as in the complaint.
“I’ve studied him and watched him closely for three years,” says Garcia. “He’s a Robin Hood in the Jewish community, except he takes from the elderly.”
According to the complaint, Rechnitz’s homes up and down the state boast strong financial performance, but consistently are cited for understaffing and other failures to care for residents.
While Rechnitz’s publicist denied the allegations to Courthouse News, Garcia says he has documents based on required staffing reporting by every dependent care facility in the U.S. showing consistent understaffing by the Brius facilities, as well as other measures of poor care, including use of physical restraints and psychotropic drugs.
“We are seeking to permanently enjoin Rechnitz and Brius from operating elder facilities,” says Garcia. “I’ve never felt this way about another provider. Ever. He needs to go.”
The plaintiff in the case, Raymond Foreman, is a former resident of Centinela Skilled Nursing & Wellness Centre West, and just one of thousands in a class for which Garcia hopes to shut down Rechnitz, as well as gain a measure of dignity.
“How do you quantify dignity?” he asks. “One of the most important things is the residents of these homes are former firemen, nurses, doctors and people who sought to save our lives. This lawsuit affords up the opportunity to respect dignity on behalf of each of them in a way they could not do with an individual lawsuit.”